Beyond the bombastic whiz-bang announcements at CES, there are numerous smaller surprises that don't quite get enough attention, just like SanDisk's tiny thumb drive that packs a whopping 4 TB of storage.
It's the largest capacity on a thumb drive in the world, ever, and it can fit in any pocket. Granted, it's a little bit larger than most thumb drives, but it's far tinier than external drives with much less storage.
The only downside is that this thing is still a prototype for now. SanDisk hasn't even given it a name yet, let alone proper pricing or an exact release date. Specifications are out of the question too.
SanDisk 4 TB Flash Drive
It's a stretch to call it a flash drive, though, since it has a short USB Type-C cable sticking out and a fairly plump body to go with it. That being said, cramming 4 TB of storage into something this small is still an impressive achievement, and there's definitely a huge audience that's hungry for large-capacity thumb drives, so hopefully SanDisk decides to release it commercially someday.
CES 2019: SanDisk Shows Off Prototype Flash Drive With 4TB of Storage, New Extreme Pro SSD https://t.co/2MM8kfyesv by @julipuli pic.twitter.com/1lAAs2dzox — MacRumors.com (@MacRumors) January 8, 2019
Unfortunately in tech, "someday" can mean as early as later this year, in three years, or never. In other words, don't count on this being released anytime soon unless SanDisk provides more details down the line. Odds of it ever being released are low, though. Remember when SanDisk showed off its ultra-tiny 1 TB thumb drive at last year's CES? It's still nowhere to be found.
What About The Cost?
There's also the price factor, of course. Current flash drives with only 2 TB of storage run for around $1,200 these days, what more for 4 TB? It's hard to support the case for large-capacity flash drives, especially if they aren't really significantly better than just getting much cheaper external drives. Still, storage tech always evolves, and if this is the next direction and people adopt to it, expect the price range to decrease overtime.
Aside from this wee device, SanDisk also announced a bunch of other new products, including the Extreme PRO Portable SSD, My Passport Go, and a new cloud-based backup service called SanDisk Flashback.
"We continue to evolve our products to help consumers find new ways of enjoying the content that matters the most," said David Ellis, VP of product marketing at Western Digital, SanDisk's parent company. "Our latest offerings reinforce Western Digital's commitment to delivering a wide range of personal storage solutions that offer ruggedness, speed, reliability and ease of use."